I’ve discussed the behaviour of the DWP misusing Statistics on several occasions, from our successful petition asking the Welfare & Pensions Select to investigate these actions, to the introduction of the newly formed single fraud investigation service, (SFIS), allegedly costing £140 million. The misrepresentation of information is how different Politicians have repeatedly spoken on Welfare Reform, they have persisted with their interpretations even after the UK Statistics Authority have refuted it.
The Governments rationale behind such conduct certainly indicates their increasing use of psychological coercion with various Departments insisting, their version of data is correct rejecting all alternate information and separate opinions, they have devised rules that control the topics they determine permissible to discuss, and all communication is highly controlled.
A recent example of this was the development of SFIS a cross Government strategy to reduce fraud and error”. I’ve previously considered the validity of the DWP’s claim, this group was established to save money, but with One Billion Pound being spent to reduce the cost of Fraud & Error, when the total annual amount lost is One Billion Pound, this seems highly unlikely? The official press release from the DWP quoted Lord Freud’s claims “Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support fraud and error overpayments are at their lowest recorded levels.” Yet looking closer at this claim we find Council Tax data is no longer included in DWP figures, the responsibility has shifted to Local Authorities and this Tax is equivalent to “2% of overall welfare expenditure” which is the difference in Fraud and Error pre the inception of SFIS.
This example fulfils both the definition of psychological coercion above and as used by Dr Lynne Friedli in her claim, Government uses such to ‘formulate and gain consent for the current regime of welfare reform’. Friedli also discusses how psychological coercion affects the way both claimants feel about themselves and those not claiming benefits view others; this becomes even more relevant when the misuse of data by Government is reported verbatim by the media, as it reinforces the principles and purpose behind programmes like SFIS.
The incessant use of psychological coercion has multiple negative affects, it results in the recipient becoming “confused, intimidated and silenced by actions accepted as harmful, such as uncompromising influence, involuntary servitude, and infliction of emotional distress“; it leaves us “compliant” and ultimately brainwashed. Interestingly The Home Office already includes coercive control as an element of abuse, but only as it applies to domestic violence.
The fact the Government’s Department responsible for Law, recognises the damage of psychological coercion, is an irony not to be lost, as we continue to struggle against the gamut of detrimental Policies and daily rhetoric of media coercion; nor should the paradox of the Government’s attempts to catch people allegedly falsely claiming benefits, whilst using falsified data to justify the expense.
Time For The Truth?